Recently in New York, data gurus and global development experts gathered together for a special MY World + UN Global Pulse event to explore possible ways of utilizing the MY World data set. To date, more than 645,000 people from 194 countries have cast their vote and provided incredibly useful demographic information – age, gender, education level and country. Such a rich data source presents a creative challenge to data artists and analysts to build an accessible and interactive means of exploring the information.

data dive

On Monday, June 24th at an analytic information workshop in the UN Foundation Conference room, those involved in the MY World Project aligned themselves with the UN- affiliated data rendering  project,t Global Pulse, taking a major step forward into entering and presenting tangible solutions for  the problems currently faced in the post-2015 global agenda.

The central question surrounding those involved: how can all-relevant parties utilize and understand the various aggregated data results surrounding the MY World Survey.

At this event, so aptly referred to as a “Data Dive”, participants from a diverse array of public, private, and educational institutions set about the conference room trying to answer this question. Beyond the progress which was made in the room trying to understand the intricacies of data amongst various technological platforms; several participants, including those from UN-affiliated Global Pulse and researchers from NYU POLY each went through the process to compose separate data visualizations.

Global Pulse also analyzed separately the activity of the MY World survey on Twitter, filtering peoples post’s between June, 1st 2012 and May 31st 2013 both by Country and a collecting responses through word usage surrounding the themes which follow the16 Survey options. This methodology has provided a cohesive way to look at, in a manner of relative entirety, a numerical representation of information previously understood only through linguistic means. By doing so we allow the user to take social media a step further, providing new ways to understand the on-line information which surrounds us.

NYU POLY, specifically through the work of Juan Serrats and Michael Velez have formulated a way to look at a “static snapshot” of the actual MY World survey participant information, dated May 2013. While this does not present the viewer with a “real-time” representation of the survey data, it does provide an alternative method in which to examine exactly what people’s reactions are to our priorities. The chart is organized by region, including: Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, North America, Oceania, South America, and a 9th “World” option, which shows a MY World choice distribution globally. The representation also allows for the viewer to manipulate the results by gender, age, and education; a feature that provides an even deeper understanding and purposefulness to this renewed examination.

Hendrik Stroldbet of NYU POLY also created a preliminary data visualization of the MY World “free text” 17th option, a work of research aggregation which was the first of it’s kind. This sort of work allows all involved to see an accurate representation of individual global voices, and provides a far more effective way to answer the pressing question of: “what is most important to you”?  As exhibited by the data, the most common single word exhibited in people’s responses is “AIDS”, while the most frequent four-word chai  is “honest and responsive government”. By allowing a concrete, accessible way to look at this multi-causal and highly variable individual selection, we can better understand a global consensus of opinion.

It is of importance to recognize that all of the statistically representative  work done by Hendrik  Strolbet, Juan Serrats ,Michael Velez and  others involved with NYU POLY were completed  with the support  of the organization Global Pulse. Global Pulse, for those who are not familiar, is the result of an initiative launched by the office of the Secretary General seeking to understand and utilize how  “digital data sources and real-time analytics technologies can help policymakers understand human well-being and emerging vulnerabilities in real-time”.

Data visualizations :

Global Pulse’s twitter analysis:

Regional analysis by Juan Serrats and Michael Velez:

17th option analysis and visualization by Hendrik Strobet:

For more information about MY World results, please visit:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *